Monday, July 27 marked the first day of medical clinics. Extreme Nazarene led a team of 18 short term missionaries along with local missionaries to the first location in Ibarra, Ecuador. I had no idea what we would see, how many patients would show up, what types of things I might of forgotten or if I had purchased all the medications needed. I remember standing in a large room covered with graffiti. To my left, the pharmacy appeared stocked and nervous, to my right supplies were spilling out of suitcases at the triage area and in front of me shower curtains floated in the breeze as a few men stood on chairs trying to adjust our creative curtains. It was 11:00 exactly and we were set to begin. I signaled for one of the short term ladies (Vicki) to bring in our first patients and I held my breathe praying that the clinic would function the way I had imagined.
110 patients later, I set out a sigh of relief as we began packing up our supplies only a few minutes late. On the bus, I announced the number of patients seen and we all cheered at how smoothly the day had gone. Then I turned my attention towards a conversation in the bus. That day while in the exam room with a physician a young man had accepted Christ into his heart. I did not think that this trip could get any better.
Many of our days continued on the same manner. Sometimes we would get to a location and there would already be 50 people waiting for us, even if the only form of advertisement were one poster hung up on the building. Other times, the afternoons would bring in tremendous lines. Justin talked to an elderly couple who had walked over 45 minutes, then took a couple hour bus ride in order to reach our last clinic and medical care.
The locations of the clinics were in neighborhoods, which the church has had events in the past and is continuing to try and foster relationships. They were all strategically chosen by the missionaries on the ground in Ibarra. Each day, I watched as short term missionaries provided medical care or played with children and local missionaries worked hard to either translate, advertise the clinics or maintain order in the waiting areas.
Thank you all for your prayers. God’s grace was more than sufficient and was ever evident every day during the clinics. He kept us all safe from harm (diarrhea) and I know His love was poured out this week. In the end almost 800 patients were seen by three physicians in 4.5 clinic days. If anyone from the short term team is reading this, thank You for Your willingness to come and serve this week. Not only has Ibarra been truly blessed, but my life as well.